Ephesians 1:3-10

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;

(WEB)

That is very good, and very Johannine (humanity as aspect of God). The rest of the passage is much weaker, imho:

1:5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved, 1:7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 1:8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 1:10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;

(WEB)

This is noisy. I like the first part of 1:9, and I like 1:10. They return to the theme in 1:3-4.

The rest is spoiled for me by references to things like God’s desire and pleasure. I don’t understand God as having desires (maybe it’s the translation?). God’s grace, yes, but that is more of a static quality. Perfection has grace but surely not desire, which is a perceived lack.

2 Comments

  1. Perhaps you can look at the word “desire” and “pleasure” as “kind intention” or “purpose.” The NASB uses kind intention and the ESV uses purpose. I have no problem in saying that God desires that we follow His will. He gave His Son so we would know that salvation (verse7) is/has been taken care of by the death of Christ on the cross. Try looking at “desire” not as a perceived lack but a longing for something. See it as God wants all men everywhere to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth (Acts 17:30).

  2. Ivan said

    Bill, Thanks for your comment.

    I have a problem with thinking that God might desire or want or long for anything: God is perfect and complete, surely?

    I agree though that my “problem” is probably a matter of conceptualising. The force of attraction pulling ordinary people to Jesus, I would parcel that up with the Holy Spirit.

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